Pearly gates, streets of gold, city walls made of gems, and so on, in such a captivating portrayal may distract us from the greater truths the biblical writers were pointing to.
Having no vocabulary to render a fully redeemed new earth, the biblical writers described heaven in terms of peace (shalom) in mentioning that the city gates would never close. They spoke of righted relationships (i.e. golden neighborhood streets), lavish blessing, stability and security (beautiful pearly gates, no night) and no anguish in the form of tears, psychic pain, and death (a.k.a. no sea).
As I pondered some of the concepts in Tim Keller’s Gospel in Life video series in my sunday school class, I thought about the Tree of Life, revisited from the Eden story and given a call back in the story of our heavenly hope, the new earth.
This Tree of Life stuff reveals something far bigger than some sort of large plant with bark with life giving produce. Thinking of simply a literal tree planted in the new earth of heaven, and people lining up to get its life-giving fruit to live forever, sells short the magnitude of what God has done for us through his grace. This tree illustration sheds light on the bounty, abundance of God, and diet of his love that sustains us, world without end.
As you look at your Christmas tree in the next few days, let its presence reflect the hope we have in the reality of what God has done, and what he continues to do. Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection breathes life into our spirits, and sustains us now, and in the world to come.
Do you have any thoughts about hope to share today?